Definition of curtail in English:



  • 1Reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.

    ‘civil liberties were further curtailed’
    • ‘It curbs and curtails the natural development of players and stunts the learning process of the finer arts of the game.’
    • ‘He added any new action would be limited to curtailing extracurricular services and the resumption of a full strike would only be considered as a last resort.’
    • ‘One is that the restrictions of movement in rural areas could curtail normal campaigning.’
    • ‘He said it had been proven many times that curtailing nightclub opening times did not reduce public order offences.’
    • ‘I think it is a pity that they did not get an opportunity to curtail the hours and restrict the use of the main auditorium.’
    • ‘In short, Mosley wants to curtail the scope and cost of development.’
    • ‘Play is now restricted or curtailed with the par reduced and handicaps proportionately trimmed.’
    • ‘Here the doctor is faced with the choice of curtailing the consultation or of reducing the time available for the next patient.’
    • ‘I do all the time, but of course I don't limit or otherwise curtail this self-indulgence.’
    • ‘Capitalism also sharply curtails the liberty of many more people who feel that their choices are limited by fear that their resources will be catastrophically limited unless they make significant sacrifices to their employers.’
    • ‘The promise of a fine indoor season had been curtailed during a training break in Florida.’
    • ‘The ban on AG was imposed, using the Political Parties Act that severely curtails the democratic rights of free association and free speech.’
    • ‘If you don't have to go through this injection every day, there are so many things that you - and I don't complain about, but I mean it curtails a lot of activities in your life. Look, if that could all be prevented, who cares?’
    • ‘The result is a dramatic decrease in the money supply, dramatically curtailing growth.’
    • ‘‘So if vaccination curtails the outbreak sooner than the slaughter-only policy, the disease-free status would be regained more quickly than if vaccination is not used,’ the letter states.’
    • ‘The law curtails the extent of the copyright monopoly.’
    • ‘Marriage, for example, is a commitment to a particular other person that curtails freedom of choice in sexual and even emotional partners.’
    • ‘But what they end up with, after all the reserve they impose (and which curtails their creative impetus) is merely anecdotal.’
    • ‘However, you can significantly reduce the amount of duty you pay by curtailing your urge to trade.’
    • ‘Her visit was abruptly curtailed when news was received about the death of her father, King George VI.’
    reduce, cut, cut down, cut back, decrease, lessen, diminish, slim down, tighten up, retrench, pare down, trim, dock, lop, shrink
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    1. 1.1curtail someone ofarchaic Deprive someone of (something)
      ‘I that am curtailed of this fair proportion’


Late 15th century: from obsolete curtal ‘horse with a docked tail’, from French courtault, from court ‘short’, from Latin curtus. The change in the ending was due to association with tail and perhaps also with French tailler ‘to cut’.